🔪 The Long Pigs by WE3

The Long Pigs is a tight 60 minute clowning spectacular, which takes the art form into an excitingly macabre world featuring some of Australia’s best clowns.

🔪 The Long Pigs by WE3
Image: Prudence Upton

The Long Pigs is a tight 60 minute clown slasher, which takes the art form into an excitingly macabre world featuring some of Australia’s best clowns. In short, three clowns (with black noses) are out to rid the world of all the red noses in the world—not red-nosed clowns per-se, just their noses. It’s violent, silly, and so so fun.

The set designed by Anna Tregloan is the first thing you experience upon entering Theatre Works’ old church building and it’s a highlight. Contraptions abound in a mess of sheets which slowly reveals itself as the show goes on. There’s so much detail here, and it’s a joy to watch the set unfold as our antagonists’ actions grow increasingly depraved. There’s a moment right at the end which may be one of my favourite theatrical moments this year—you just have to see it. Andy Turner’s lighting design is sculptural and beautifully compliments the set design. It really feels like every moment of this show is so considered and curated, it’s a visual feast from start to finish.

In the absence of any spoken lines from our clowns, Jethro Woodward’s sound design provides a stunning backdrop to the action. Scenes felt elevated while transitions felt epic. It’s gruesome, haunting, and uncanny—the dissonance of chuckling in a space so sonically depraved is delicious.

At no point was I ever confused by the machinations of the plot—the visual and emotive storytelling is just that good. The trio of clowns have us in the palm of their hand as they bicker amongst themselves, hatch plans, and reminisce about the trauma which led them here. Each of them is a joy to watch, and their audience work is a particular pleasure.

This is a work which surprised me every step of the way, between the clash of genres, the hilarity of its dark subject matter, and the stunts. But even then, at the climax, comes a twist which is executed so well that I’ll be thinking about it for years. There are some perfectly placed hints along the way which only made sense in hindsight and speaks to the brilliance of the creative team. It’s an absolute shock and takes the play into its darkest—and funniest—territory yet.

There’s no weak links in this show. A treasure from start to finish which I feel so lucky that I managed to see. I hope you get to see it as well.

The Long Pigs is at Theatre Works until 10 December. You can get tickets here.